What do I need to start photography as a hobby
Photography is a very popular hobby and from the outside it seems as simple as clicking a button, and hey presto, you are in business as an artist and professional photographer. But one of the most rewarding aspects of taking up photography is that there is a lot to learn, and you will be constantly challenged and rewarded on your photography adventure.
There are three things you need to start a hobby as a photographer. Firstly you need the inspiration to want to take photographs and have the desire and motivation to pick up your camera and get out and take pictures. Secondly you need a camera and some basic equipment, and finally you need advice and guidance and access to some learning resources. Taking up photography as hobby need not be expensive or difficult but it requires application and a willingness to learn. Let's consider these points in more detail.
Find your inspiration.
The most important thing for any photographer is inspiration. Without the desire and motivation to pick up your camera and take pictures you will find it difficult to challenge yourself and learn how to work through problems and become a better photographer.
People are inspired to take up photography for many reasons. Perhaps you want to start capturing family memories or your travel adventures. Perhaps you are interested to see if you can make some extra money or simply create art for your own home. The important thing is that you have a goal and something to focus on as your hobby progresses and you can start to call yourself a photographer. If you are reading this, you may have already got the bug and decide that photography is your calling.
Get a good camera and lens.
Today it's very difficult to buy a bad camera, so what is a good camera? A good camera should be capable of meeting your needs and the type of photography you are interested in. Almost all mainstream cameras will produce good images and you can choose from compacts, mirrorless and so called professional DSLR's, but the needs of a sports photographer will be different to someone with an interest in astrophotography, so if you have a particular niche in mind then factor your requirements into your decision. One of my early mistakes was to buy a big DSLR because I thought I would look "professional", and get better pictures, but I soon discovered that it was no fun travelling in hot countries with a heavy camera and a bag full on lenses and my desire to explore and take photographs began to wane. I soon realised that a smaller, portable photography kit was what I really needed.
If you buy a new interchangeable lens camera, it will likely come with a kit lens which will suit most people starting out without breaking the bank. Kit lenses are often bundled with a new camera at a discounted price, and this makes them a good option when starting out.
However do not overlook the used camera market. Some photographers want the latest gear and sell on perfectly good cameras on eBay and other good auction sites and move on to the latest iteration from the manufacturer. You can be a great photographer without breaking the bank by staying two or three years behind the curve and buying used. If you have reservations about buying used gear from eBay or similar sites then see if your camera manufacturer has a refurbished online store where they sell returned items with a warranty at substantial discounts.
Learn and keep learning.
There are many ways to develop your knowledge and understanding of photography and it's important to pick something that fits in with your learning style.
• Read your camera manual.
I know it's not an exciting read but your camera manual will give you all the information about using your camera and the various controls and settings. Keep it to hand to refer to when you get stuck or have a problem. If I was on a long flight for a vacation, I would always pack my camera manual in my camera bag and would use the down time as an opportunity for learning and trying out new settings.
• Listen to photography Podcasts
There are many great podcasts out there which deal with photography from a number of different angles. They are a great way to learn about photography in all aspects and you can listen to them while commuting or travelling.
• You Tube
There is so much on You Tube it's hard to know where to start but it’s a great place for tutorials and gear reviews. You can subscribe to your favourite channels and receive updates when new content is published.
• Online photography guides and tutorials
If your reading this you already know that google is your friend - keep it up!
• Photography Books
Books for me fall into the inspirational category. Looking at other people's work can really motivate you to become better and trying to emulate other photographers in the beginning can be very creative and set you on your own path.
• Social Media
Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are all places where you can share your own work but also look at what other photographers are doing and follow their work if you like what they post. Facebook also has groups that cater for specific photography genres or camera types.
• Friends and mentors
If you have friends or family members who are photographers or enthusiastic amateurs then don't be afraid to ask for advice. I have found people are really helpful and will even share their gear to help you get started.
Finally get out there and take pictures!